A Dreamy Italian Kitchen

While we were looking for a place to stay in Italy, there were a few considerations that ultimately guided our choice of accommodation. Firstly, we needed two bedrooms and two bathrooms as there would be four of staying together for a month. Roommates!! Secondly, we wanted a lot of outdoor space – a pool, gardens, a terrace, a BBQ, and easy access to plentiful nature. We went on the trip to be remote and live off of the grid for a while, so we wanted to reap the benefits of country living! Different nooks to read in or work in around the house were a plus. Wifi was a must. And finally (and for me, most importantly!) we wanted a space with a large, fully equipped kitchen, so we could make all of our Italian cooking dreams come true!

In the end, we booked this space, which was even more magical than I could have envisioned. And it had just the kitchen we were hoping to find! We spent many nights here, sipping velvety sweet wine as we chopped vegetables and rolled pasta side by side. While the destinations we drive or fly to are often very photo-worthy, it’s these slow, home-spun evenings I will remember for the rest of my life. And what better to accompany the memories than a few vivid photographs? :) On this particular evening, I brought my camera into the kitchen, clicking our adventures while simultaneously cooking dinner (and did I mention drinking wine?!)

Lindsay made the most beautiful tomato salad, I was on vegetable grilling duty, Chris rolled out our fresh pasta, and Kai made a creamy red pasta sauce.Teamwork always makes dinner taste better!As does a delicious bottle of chianti ;)While on the trip, we did a lot of cooking from my favorite Italian cookbook, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Is this cookbook any good, you ask?

Whelp, I packed one measly suitcase for our entire month-long Italian adventure, and this cookbook took up a good portion of said suitcase. I’m the girl who typically needs to bring at least ten pairs of sneakers, sandals, and flip flops on a week-long trip, so this packing-sacrifice alone should give you a good indication of the book’s quality! It’s a keeper for sure!At the villa, we found a bomb Rowenta grill, similar to a George Foreman, which helped us sizzle some perfectly charred vegetables each and every night! Peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onions – if it was in season in the grocery store, we grilled it, smothered it with olive oil, and mashed it onto crusty bread with garlic. Double droll!!

And guess what we bought when we got back to Amsterdam?! ;) At home, Kai and I have a pasta machine for our Italian cooking antics. In Italy, we had no such luxury. But we did have a *massive* rolling pin and a six-foot Dutchman, which turned out to be a winning combo! Chris rolled, Kai cut, and Lindsay made the most adorable little pasta nests. Even uncooked, we knew our pasta bounty would be delectable.With our sauce cooked, our vegetables rearing to go, and our pasta adorably nested, it was time to boil our carbs!Kai did the honors of very carefully plopping our pasta strands into a hot pot of water.

With the table set, our wine glasses re-filled, and the pasta finally ready to go, we sat down for one of our many family dinners at our old Tuscan villa.Can you believe we cooked the below meal from scratch? Somehow Italian food always tastes better in Italy!

xo Ali

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